History of antibiotics

The history of antibiotics is associated with British bacteriologist Alexander Fleming. In 1928, Fleming discovered penicillin, considered to be a breakthrough in science and an important milestone in the antibiotics history.

The first antibiotic was discovered accidentally.  Sterility was nearly observed at Alexander Fleming’s laboratory, and favorable conditions for mold appeared. Fleming failed to fight against it.

Alexander Fleming was studying properties of staphylococci, grown at the lab plates, known as a Petri dish. One day Fleming noticed grown fungi colony in one of the Petri dishes with Staphylococcus aureus. Fleming paid attention that bacteria were not grown around the mold.

The scientist began to investigate the mold and to conduct experiments. He managed to isolate an active substance from the mold destroying bacterial cells, named penicillin. But Fleming could not isolate pure penicillin. It complicated the development of technology for antibiotic production, to become a crucial milestone in history of antibiotics.

Bacteriologist Florey and biochemist Chain coped with this task. They first used penicillin to treat bacterial infections in 1941. In 1945 Fleming, Florey, and Chain were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine “for the discovery of penicillin and its curative effect in various infectious diseases” adding their names forever into history of antibiotics.

The discovery of antibiotics started the new era in treatment of bacterial infections. Thanks to antibiotics, infectious disease mortality was significantly reduced, including infant mortality, infectious diseases were effectively fought against, and the average life expectancy was increased by about 33 years.

Popularity of penicillin was caused not only by medical use. History of antibiotics is associated with agriculture development as well, especially livestock farming. Antibiotics are added to animal feed to fight against various infections spread.

Antibiotics are added to animal feed worldwide for over a long period of fattening animals. Some types of antibiotics:

  • Stimulate livestock productivity and reproduction
  • Provideextra live weight gain
  • Shorten animal fattening period
  • Help to reduce costs for livestock production

All this is considered to be a huge benefit for antibiotics use in livestock production.

The global antibiotics production was launched in 1952. Today, however, the history of antibiotics should be redrawn. Antibiotics are not a panacea for all ills, because bacteria are constantly adapting to any new types of antibiotics.

Resistance of bacteria in history of antibiotics is believed to be a serious problem around the world. Modern epidemiological situation requires for improvement of infection prophylaxis­­, changes in manufacturing methods, indication and use of antibiotics. Modern scientists add a new page in the book of  history of antibiotics.